Sandra “Sandy” Stanbro, 82, of Charles City, passed away Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at her home surrounded by her loving family.
Cremation has taken place and a celebration of Sandy’s life will be held at a later date.
On August 3rd, 1937, Vernon and Irene Tibbitts (Schultz) welcomed their only daughter, Sandra Lee, to their world on a small farm in Colwell, Iowa. The second oldest, Sandy demonstrated devotion to her family from a young age. She learned to care for her brothers, especially her youngest brother Leo. Even until age 81, she made the trek twice a year to Joliet, Illinois to check on him.
Her brothers looked out for her, too. They played rough and taught her to be a “Tough Tibbitts from Colwell”.
When the kids were still young, Vernon passed. It was then that Irene brought her family to Charles City. The shocking transition from country school to a bustling public school was something Sandy always remembered.
Despite having a scary welcome to “city” life, Sandy eventually settled in. As an adult, she worked at a local cafe that primarily served White Farm employees. She’d often recount how they’d come in covered with grease and soot. One customer saw her more often than the rest– the soon-to-be love of her life, Charles (Chuck) Stanbro. In a letter dated October 1958, he wrote, “I will never stop loving you, ever.”
Soon they traveled to Joliet to visit Sandy’s brothers. Her oldest brother, Harry, knew an officiant who could get them married, but “it had to be quick because he wanted to go fishing.” So Sandy and Chuck went and got married. Sandy wore a rumpled “garage sale skirt”. They beam in their wedding photo, which Chuck posed for with a peanut butter sandwich in hand.
Out of this union came a blended family and Sandy’s greatest and happiest accomplishment. It included Craig, Lindy, Kevin, Colleen, Leesa, Denise, Michelle, “little” Chuck Stanbro, and many grandchildren. She loved being a grandma and a “GG”. Her family was “her people” and they will love her forever and always.
Sandy idolized her mom, Irene, and always said, if she was a good mom, it was because she had her mom to learn from.
While raising her kids, Sandy was also a caregiver for her mom and her mother-in-law, who both passed away within months of each other from complications caused by cancer. Years later, Chuck survived a stroke that left him weak. Sandy retired from Comp Systems to be his caregiver for several years until he passed in 2011, shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary. Sandy often said, “You gotta do what you gotta do.”
Even until 2 short weeks before Sandy’s passing, she still wouldn’t rest until she knew her kids were safe and happy. She could go two days without sleep, not resting until everyone in her house rested with her.
Another joy for Sandy included music. She grew up singing while her dad played fiddle. When she was older, she danced until she couldn’t dance anymore. When she couldn’t dance, she slapped her knees until they stung.
She loved her friends, especially her “buddy” Deb Beaver. Deb was known for decorating Sandy’s house on birthdays, and they often played pranks on each other. Deb was there to laugh with Sandy until her final days.
Sandy battled her disease bravely. Family began spending each day and night with her, so grateful to care for the woman who made their heart swell with the twinkle in her eyes and her sweet words.
She began to forget. Most places looked like Colwell to her, and her daughter became her “mom”. Sandy left this world with the precious thought that strange places were her home and that her mom was with her into old age.
Sandy passed while sleeping in her home with family by her side. As she was driven away, her family kept on her tradition of the “Stanbro wave”. They ran into the street at 2 in the morning and waved with both hands over their heads until she was out of sight.
In the 1958 letter, Chuck wrote, “I want to see you more than anything in this world.” Now he can.
Sandy is survived by her stepson, Craig (Linda) Stanbro; son, Kevin (Joanne) Stanbro; stepdaughter, Colleen (Wally) Lein; daughter, Leesa (Barry) Siems; daughter, Denise (Larry) Hall; daughter, Michelle (Robert) Marion; son, Chuck (Deb) Stanbro; 15 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild due in October; brother, Leo (Anna) Tibbitts; and many nieces, nephews, and other family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Chuck Stanbro on July 9, 2011; parents, Vernon and Irene Tibbitts; brothers: Harry, Jimmy, and Ralph Tibbits; and stepdaughter, Lindy Stanbro.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Croix Hospice or any dementia or Alzheimer’s research organization.
Hauser Weishaar Funeral Home, (641) 228-2323, 1205 South Main Street, Charles City, Iowa 50616 is in charge of local arrangements. Online condolences may be left on the Tribute Wall for the family at www.hauserfh.com.